Late soybeans looking better than early maturing types in 2009
Soybean fields south of I-40 are showing dismal returns, but the harvest from fields in northeast Arkansas are a bit more promising, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
October's constant rain induced mold and fungus growth in beans that were ready to harvest when the rain hit. The water also caused split pods and in-pod germination in the earlier maturing soybeans. However, some of the later maturing varieties are looking better, said Jeremy Ross, Extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
"I've talked to several different seed companies and, so far, they've said the quality of the maturity Group V soybeans is a little bit off compared to what's been delivered in the past," he said. "But I don't think it's going to be near as bad as what's been coming out of the fields the last few weeks."
There won't be a shortage of soybean seed for next year's crop, he said.
Ross expected this year to be a mirror of last year: "We'll have the quantity, but there may be certain varieties that may be harder to get or in short demand.
"In 2008, we had plenty of seed to plant a crop two or three times, but the quality was so poor you had trouble getting a good stand," he said.
Ross said bean seeds that weathered the rain in the mid-south look okay, but "there is some question in the industry about the germination vigor of these beans and whether it will hold up."
The Division of Agriculture and the Arkansas State Plant Board are assessing the vigor of soybean seeds produced in Arkansas. Results should be available later this fall.
Meanwhile, growers are getting less for their crop due to damage.
In southwest Arkansas, some growers reported up to 70 percent damage in a few fields and elevators were rejecting loads with more than 15 percent damage. Southeastern Arkansas growers were reporting up to 100 percent damage in fields.
"In some beans, the quality is so bad that no dryer wants to take them," said Gus Wilson, Chicot County Extension chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. "Those growers will try to find a salvage place that will buy them."
In Jefferson County, Extension Staff Chair Don Plunkett said there were still some good spots, with one grower with all Group V beans reporting strong yields and little discount.
"All is good here--or right now," the grower told Plunkett.
In northeast Arkansas, the later harvest dates may be a saving grace.
"In Clay County, limited acreage has been harvested and so far yields have been excellent and holding up," Ross said. "Many growers and agents report that the quality seemed to be better overall from about U.S. Highway 64 northward, with the best quality from Jonesboro north."